Friday, 8 May 2015

The Unloved series

As I was going through the process of storing my quilts as described in yesterday’s post, there were a few quilts with which I did not quite know what to do. You know the type; the quilt that you made for that challenge and the quilt that turned out a little huh hum and the quilt that you made in class and on and on. Not really bad quilts as such, but never loved and never used.

I sat on my bed looking at the pile of quilts on the floor and realized I could throw them away without any regrets. In fact, we still had the building dumpster in the yard and I would never miss them. Then my mind started wandering as it often does, and I thought of the Unloved quilt which I finished with so much delight. Why couldn’t I do the same with my own quilts?

I blame it partly on my thrifty side, partly on the quilting vacuum in which I was struggling at the time, but before I knew it I was deep in ideas. I would recycle the quilts in different ways and make them into something new. The worst thing that could happen was that I ruined them, but as they had never been used anyway, it would make very little difference.

The first project I worked on was this little quilt. 

I made it in one of the three quilting classes I have ever taken and never cared for it even though I enjoyed the class very much. I’m giving you a fair warning here; such projects are not for the faint hearted. Cutting into a quilt is, well, exciting.

I went to work with a rotary cutter, chopped off a little here and a little there, and started putting the pieces back together, basically making the quilt shorter and wider.

As the project would not get a lot of wear and tear (like a hand bag would), I simply zigzagged the pieces together, raw edge to raw edge. Taping the pieces together with masking tape made the stitching much easier.

Now I have a fab handwork basket sitting next to my spot in the living room. It went from unloved to useful and quite good looking I’d say. 

The appliqué and free motion embroidered centre looks great on the front. 

The Liberty of London borders 

that did my quilt no favour, looks rather dashing in their new positions on the back and bottom. The black lines are the zigzag stitching.

The lining is the recycled pillow case from this post. The creases would not come out, so it’s in there, creases and all.

Working on this project was very liberating. Allowing one self to move on from something which does not work to something that does, sparks lots of creativity. Not long ago I read a post on Facebook by someone who wanted to use her first quilt as a starting point for a bigger quilt, and wanted suggestions on how to do so. I thought it was a brilliant idea and was a bit surprised by all the comments, each and every one saying not to do it.

Do we really need to keep everything that we have ever made in exactly that state? Don’t get me wrong, I am as sentimental as they come. My husband teases me that I have kept every scrap of paper our daughter has ever made a mark on, and it’s not too far from the truth. I get that, but wouldn’t it be lovely to have your first quilt gracing your bed instead of being stored away in a dark place never to be seen? That particular quilt on Facebook only needed some wider quilt as you go borders in neutral colours and it would have been  used and loved every day. See, my mind starts wandering off just thinking of it.

How about you; would you consider reworking one of your unloved??


  1. How very liberating indeed! I adore your new handwork basket. Very special to know that you saved it from obscurity and gave it new purpose! I have sold a very few ho hum quilts at a yard sale before for basically pennies and didn't regret it a bit. Never thought about recycling them. Much better idea all the way around!

  2. Great idea! You took a class, didn't like the resulting project, and figured out a way to make it into something you did like and is useful. Great lessons all around!

  3. I have thought about what to do with some 'meh' projects....sometimes I think I just need to add some additional quilting or add a border (or take one away) ....but I have never really thought of cutting that puppy up and 'reorganizing' it. THAT is a great idea.

  4. Love the idea - no quilts here to try it out on... I give them all away. But I love your bag and the courage it took to make it. You are amazing!

  5. The basket is great! And useful. And loved now. What a great idea. I have seen stuffed animals made from old falling apart quilts and they are wonderful. I may have to dig through my stored away stuff and take another look at them.

  6. I think this is a brilliant reworking!! What a great idea! I'm thinking of taking a gander at some of my old knitting projects and seeing what 'new' might come out of them :)

  7. A great post! I would rework without a moment's hesitation, and your basket is the perfect illustration of why.

  8. great post-the bag is darling!